Everything we do in this life is a choice. Our day usually starts with getting out of bed or staying in it. We choose whether or not we want to use hygiene. We also choose the foods we eat or if we eat at all. We even choose our jobs. Sometimes we feel that we have no choice in the matter but ultimately, it’s our choice where we want to work. If you ever watched Dangerous Minds, you’ll recall the scene where some of the kids told LouAnn Johnson that people didn’t have a choice to ride the bus in their neighborhood. She then replied that “there are people who choose not to get on that bus.” I’ve never forgotten that statement. Or rather, should I say that I have forgotten to apply that same concept in my life until recently.
We choose our friends. We choose the circles that we wish to learn from. Many will dispute this argument but for every one of those arguments, there are people like Liz Murrary, who had a film about her life chronicled in “Homeless to Harvard.” In her mind, there was no other option than to go as far with her education as she could. She came from impoverished settings and learned that the choice was up to her if she stayed in that life or pushed forward for a better one.
Drive and ambition are a useful, yet scary skill that we all possess. Each of us has a unique skill that others envy. You may be talented with math or science. You may be prophetic in English and History. You may even light the world on fire with artistic ability but the talent you have is yours. It may not be something that will have your name in lights but that doesn’t mean that you can’t utilize your talents to go far.
In the last few months, I’ve made major adjustments in my life. My priorities have shifted. People that I thought were true friends showed true colors. I walked away from the toxicity and am flourishing. Not only have I been writing more, I’m receiving more opportunities because I’m allowing myself to take chances that I was scared to do before.
There’s a man that I’ve had emotions for over ten years. If he’s reading this, I’m sorry that I didn’t take the chances I should have with him. I let fear keep me from allowing both of us to be happy and it’s caused us years of issues. I lived with a lot of misinformation and uncertainty and let others tell me what to do and how to feel. I was wrong. I only hope that someday he’ll be able to realize that no matter how much time passes, he has my heart. I choose to relay that information and make myself accountable for the mistakes I’ve made. But that doesn’t mean that I choose to be alone and miserable. I am choosing happiness in my life and that stars with making myself happy.
I’ve traveled all over the world. In all my travels, there has been one thing that has stood out in every country. Families are the core to living life to the fullest. Sometimes we choose our family. My own family has an interesting dynamic. I love to tell people that I love my family. I just don’t like some of them. To be fair, there’s a lot of folks out there that understand that feeling. You may be one of them. Family can be both a blessing and a curse. We can choose to let those that are closest to us guide us down a strong healthy path or venture into a dark path that leads nowhere. It truly is our choice. But what happens when we are too blinded to realize what’s going on and what the ramifications will be?
- Use both sides of your brain. It sounds like a cliche’ but it’s really true. When we make decisions off of emotions, it’s a recipe for disaster.
- Visualize your future, successful self. I’ve often heard to dress for the job you want and not the job you have. I’m going to add something else to this. Dress your confidence along with your outfit. Why? Because if you don’t exude confidence, then others lose confidence in your ability to tackle other issues.
- Recognize the power behind each decision you make. This is really important because there is power in every decision that is made. If you are choosing that money is all you care about along with power, then align yourself with people who are in that world. If you choose to work as a humanitarian, there is power in the influence that you yield with people you involve yourself with. There’s a lot of scenarios of what people desire but the important thing is that every decision you make in this life has meaning and there is a power and consequence to those choices.
- Go with your gut. Your gut is a reliable tool. Use it. Trust it. Believe in yourself and your ability to trust your own judgment. You don’t have to be right all the time. But you do have to understand that nine times out of ten your gut won’t steer you wrong.
- Don’t ask other people what you should do. This goes back to confidence. If you are always asking others what you should do, then how are you going to learn to make mistakes and stand on your own two feet? It’s okay to ask for guidance but not everything in life is going to have a road map that’s custom built for you. At some point, you are going to have to determine what roads you want to take and determine that paths of acquiring your own goals and ambitions.
- Ask yourself the right questions. Don’t just do things to do them. If you’re someone who is a free spirit, ask yourself if you are truly being free or if you are just trying to fit in. I’m not saying that you have to follow a systematic life. But in order to make some changes in your lives, you have to ask yourself some really tough questions and be willing to accept the answers whether they are positive or negative.
- Align your life with your core values. If you don’t believe in the direction you’re going, then that’s a huge problem. You may need to do some serious re-evaluation.
No matter what choices you make in your life, don’t let others pressure you to make choices that are uncomfortable for you. You know what feels right. If you have to take a job to keep food on the table and a roof over your head and others question that decision, remember that you don’t have to keep a situation the same as it currently is. You have the power and the choices available to change things. Make sure that you research what you need and make informed decisions from there.
I was bullied a lot in school. I wasn’t wealthy. My parents didn’t belong to the local country club. They were hardworking folks who just wanted me to have better opportunities. I worked my way through a local Burger King while other girls in my class were becoming Debutantes. They were being launched into society for a proper social status relationship. I didn’t understand that world at all and yet I was expected to mingle in it every day. At lunch I’d eat by myself because I didn’t have the friends that the wealthier kids had. In retrospect, I think that I was actually blessed because so many of those kids never saw their parents. They were raised by nannies and other influential people in their lives and many of them only saw the world through the eyes of money and power. I wasn’t a fake person and I had nothing to offer. Actually I did but I didn’t recognize it at the time. So in their eyes, I wasn’t worth getting to know. In my eyes, I was rejected.
All relationships in our lives are built on a choice to let others in or not. But one thing is for certain. If you choose to let others in, be mindful that not everyone thinks like you do. Nor does everyone have the same moral compass that you may have. There’s always going to be people in your life who will use you to their advantage. Learn to keep yourself aware of healthy relationships versus unhealthy ones.
Lastly, I hope you all choose happiness. Our lives are short. Let’s make the best choices that we can and make the world a stronger place to live.